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Survivors Look Ahead 1 Month After Quake

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Even in early summer, the night temperature still falls to zero degree Celsiu in Yushu, which sits at an average altitude over 4,000 meters above sea level.

"When it's unbearably cold, our whole family will huddle in the 12-square-meter tent kitchen, where there's a fire," she said.

The fire is fueled by dried yak dung.

Each day, Padma Lhamo and her mother would spend some time to sit in the kitchen, turning around the Tibetan prayer wheel in observance of the Tibetan ritual.

"We're lucky compared with some other families," she said.

No one in her family was injured in the quake, which has claimed at least 2,200 lives.

The food rationed out by the government and other organizations was enough to feed the whole family. "Our diet is more or less the same as before: we have tsamba for staple food and potatoes and cabbages as vegetables," said Padma Lhamo.

Many signs of a trade recovery can be seen in the Gyegu tent community. The town is a major place of commerce located on the ancient trade Silk Road. Tents align the main street selling a variety of things including vegetables, fruits, liquor and other beverages.

At least three hair salons were competing for business. Wireless service providers including China Mobile, China Unicom, and China Telecom all set up outlets in tents.

Gao Zhiqing, owner of Jinyuan market, said daily sales were around 1,000 yuan (146 U.S. dollars), down by half from the pre-quake days.

"Business will recover and will even expand when the town is rebuilt," said Gao. "The quake has actually made Yushu famous."

Across the Jinyuan market is the Hongqi Primary School, whose buildings were severely damaged in the quake. "Prefabricated houses are being built. Hopefully all the students will resume classes in a week," said school principal Fu Wencai.

According to the bureau for housing and urban-rural development of Yushu Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, all dangerous houses would be demolished and ruins would be cleaned in Gyegu town by the end of June.

Devout Tibetan Buddhists can often be seen walking clockwise around the sacred Mani stone mound, muttering their six-syllable prayer and occasionally adding stones to the pile, to observe their daily ritual.

Many crawl while making their long prayers.

Dozang, 53, has prayed around the mound for three days. "All my family died in the quake," he said. "I make 1,000 long prayers for their souls."

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2010)

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